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Awards Ceremony of 2020 Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger Memorial Fellowship

September 29 , 2020 11:07 AM by iGCU

On September 28th, 2020, the first awards ceremony of the Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger Memorial Fellowship was successfully held at the School of International Studies of Peking University. Many important guests from both China and the US attended the online meeting and held in-depth exchanges with the fellowship winners. The guests commented on the students' research and offered suggestions, and discussed China-US relations in the post-pandemic era.

The Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger Memorial Fellowship was established by a donation from the Berger family to the Peking University Education Foundation (USA) via the US-China Education Trust (USCET). The fellowship was established in remembrance of the late Honorable Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger, a famous statesman and former National Security Advisor for President Bill Clinton. It is intended to recognize and honor outstanding young people in both China and the US who devote themselves to the promotion of cooperation and friendship between the two countries.

Guests and fellowship winners

The opening ceremony was attended by Tang Shiqi, Dean of the School of International Studies of Peking University, Mrs. Susan Berger, widow of the late Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger, Ambassador Julia Chang Bloch, President of USCET, Zhou Manli, Deputy Director of the Office of International Relations of Peking University, Zhao Lin, President of the Peking University Education Foundation (USA), and Zhu Yibo, Deputy Secretary of the Communist Party of the School of International Studies, Peking University. They also congratulated the fellowship winners and praised the positive roles played by the fellowship in boosting academic and people-to-people exchange between China and the US, as well as promoting the healthy development of China-US relations.

Glowing comments on the students' speeches were made by Jia Qingguo, Professor of the School of International Studies of Peking University and Director of the Institute for Global Cooperation and Understanding (iGCU) of Peking University, Wang Jisi, Professor of the School of International Studies of Peking University, President of the Institute of International and Strategic Studies, and Senior Advisor of the iGCU, Tara Sonenshine, former Under Secretary of State of the US and Distinguished Fellow at the George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs, Shi Yinhong, Member of the Academic Committee of iGCU of Peking University, Distinguished Professor of the School of International Studies of the Renmin University of China and Consultant to the State Council, and Ambassador J. Stapleton Roy, former American Ambassador to China and Founding Director of the Kissinger Institute for Chinese-US Studies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Wang Dong, Executive Director of the iGCU of Peking University, presided over the opening ceremony. At the opening ceremony, entrusted by Wang Bo, Vice Principal of Beijing University, Professor Jia Qingguo delivered the opening statement in which he thanked Mr. Berger for his contributions to promoting people-to-people exchange between China and the US, congratulated the fellowship winners and encouraged the students to shoulder the mission and responsibility of promoting the development of China-US relations, thereby ushering in a brighter future for relations between the two countries.

Tang Shiqi, Dean of the School of International Studies of Peking University, delivers a speech

Representing the School of International Studies of Peking University, Dean Tang Shiqi welcomed and expressed his gratitude to the guests participating in the first awards ceremony of the Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger Memorial Fellowship. According to Tang Shiqi, people-to-people exchange between China and the US is a long-term mission which requires our generation to “plant trees in the shade of which they know they will not sit”; it is closely associated with the future of China-US relations and the well-being of the two peoples. This long-term mission requires participation from the young generations of both China and the US. It has always been a very important mission of the School of International Studies to discover and cultivate young students with a background in international studies, cross-border and cross-cultural communication ability, humane sentiments and global vision. The establishment of the Berger Scholarship and the mission of people-to-people exchange between China and the US seek to pursue a higher level of understanding, trust and friendship between the two countries. While congratulating the young winners at this ceremony, Tang Shiqi also expressed his hope that they will inherit the spirit of people of insight such as Mr. Berger himself in their devotion to friendship, communication and cooperation between China and the US, thereby boosting mutual understanding and exchange between the two peoples.

Mrs. Susan Berger, widow of former US National Security Advisor Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger, gives a speech

Mrs. Susan Berger, widow of former US National Security Advisor Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger, stressed the importance of the Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger Memorial Fellowship to the Berger family, and expressed her gratitude to Peking University and the four winners for their efforts in promoting education and people-to-people exchange between China and the US. Mrs. Susan Berger recollected her late husband's persistence and passion for promoting China-US relations. She said that he would always praise the hospitality of the Chinese people, share his moving encounters and stories about China, and appreciate the passion for life of the Chinese people and the fast-changing urban and rural scenes every time he came back from China. Mrs. Susan Berger said that if her husband were still alive, he would be very glad and satisfied to see the fellowship winners, as well as the enthusiasm and contributions of China's young generation for people-to-people exchange between China and the US.

Ambassador Julia Chang Bloch, President of USCET, delivers a speech

Ambassador Julia Chang Bloch, President of USCET, said that the education trust is deeply honored to have the opportunity to work with the Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger Memorial Fellowship and its founding entity the prestigious School of International Studies of Peking University. USCET is firmly committed to cultivating next-generation leaders who will guide China-US relations. Ms. Julia Chang Bloch pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc on the planet, and China-US relations are also heading towards darker times. The political, economic, social and educational contacts and exchanges built by the two countries in the past decades are being torn down little by little. But fortunately, we have not yet reached a hopeless situation. The students winning the Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger Memorial Fellowship represent light in these dark times. Not only do they possess outstanding professional capabilities, they also have a strong desire to deepen their understanding of the US and promote the development of China-US relations. This is very moving. She added that she is sure that they will bring honor to the Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger Memorial Fellowship, live up to Mr. Berger's efforts to promote China-US relations, and contribute their strength to this noble mission.

Ms. Zhao Lin, President of the Peking University Education Foundation (USA), delivers a speech

Ms. Zhao Lin, President of the Peking University Education Foundation (USA), gave a speech in which she expressed her expectations for China-US relations. The Peking University Education Foundation (USA) has a common mission and vision with Mr. Sandy Berger and USCET: to strive to promote education and people-to-people exchange between China and the US. She believes that academic cooperation between the two countries can set an example for their cooperation in other fields. She said, "The youth is the future", then expressed her hope that the students will train themselves in innovative thinking. They must commit themselves to the study of America and international relations, and strive to help more Americans know and understand China. She concluded by expressing her firm belief that the modesty, courage and efforts of the new generation of Chinese youths will allow them to overcome any challenge.

Zhu Yibo, Deputy Secretary of the Communist Party of the School of International Studies, Peking University, reads out the list of winners

After the guests' speeches, Zhu Yibo, Deputy Secretary of the Communist Party of the School of International Studies, Peking University, read out the list of winners. In the application period for the Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger Memorial Fellowship, a total of 16 applications were received. Scholars and experts of the iGCU, representatives of USCET and Mrs. Susan Berger jointly assessed the 16 candidates in several rounds focusing on five aspects: academic competence/potential, teamwork and personality, professional competence/potential, career planning and English ability. They finally selected four winners with excellent characters, outstanding academic results, solid academic foundations and clear and rational career planning. They are (in alphabetical order) Fan Jiarui, a doctoral candidate in International Politics of the 2018 class; Li Shuaiyu, a doctoral candidate in International Political Economy of the 2018 class; Ouyang Ruize, a master’s student in International Organizations and International Public Policies of the 2019 class; and Zhang Chengyang, an undergraduate student in International Politics of the 2017 class.

During the speech session, the four winners Fan Jiarui, Li Shuaiyu, Ouyang Ruize and Zhang Chengyang reported their research and introduced their personal experience and ideas. After the speeches, Professor Wang Jisi, Tara Sonenshine, Professor Shi Yinhong and Ambassador J. Stapleton Roy raised questions and commented on their speeches.

Statements from the winners.(From upper left to lower right: Fan Jiarui, Li Shuaiyu, Ouyang Ruize and Zhang Chengyang)

Fan Jiarui mainly studies the regional co-governance of Malacca and the surrounding countries after the Second World War, including sorting, summary, prospects and suggestions for governance; Li Shuaiyu mainly studies the globalization and trade protectionism of the 1990s, and explores the relationship between the two; Ouyang Ruize mainly studies the role of China-US bilateral relations in the field of bio-safety; and Zhang Chengyang is committed to the study of the "self-assertive" behavioral disposition of the third-strongest country in a bipolar system, with a focus on the external conditions and endogenous factors of such "self-assertive" behavior.

The students and faculty then engaged in cordial discussions. The professors acknowledged the winners' research, showed strong interest in their research design and academic details, raised valuable and constructive opinions, and shared their unique personal insights on related topics.

Professor Wang Jisi, Senior Advisor of the iGCU of Peking University, President of the Institute of International and Strategic Studies of Peking University, comments on the students' speeches

Ms. Tara Sonenshine, former Under Secretary of State of the US and Distinguished Fellow at the George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs, comments on the students' speeches

Shi Yinhong, Member of the Academic Committee of iGCU of Peking University, Distinguished Professor of the School of International Studies of the Renmin University of China and Consultant to the State Council, comments on the students' speeches

Ambassador J. Stapleton Roy, former American Ambassador to China and Founding Director of the Kissinger Institute for Chinese-U.S. Studies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, comments on the students' speeches

After the speech and comment sessions, the closing ceremony of the event was held. Professor Jia Qingguo, Professor of the School of International Studies of Peking University and Director of the iGCU of Peking University, delivered the closing speech. Qi Haotian, Secretary-General of the iGCU of Peking University, presided over the closing ceremony.

Professor Jia Qingguo said that China-US relations are currently experiencing difficulties. False information seems to prevail, and the outbreak of COVID-19 has exacerbated matters. The people-to-people exchange between China and the US, which had been strongly supported by the respective governments, has taken a sudden turn and rapidly deteriorated. Nevertheless, China and the US must not adopt a hostile attitude toward each other. As Professor Jia Qingguo recollected, when he served as National Security Advisor, Mr. Sandy Berger once said that the US would reap huge benefits from the development of China, and hence it should support China's development within the rules set forth by the international community instead of shutting it out. Professor Jia Qingguo believes that Mr. Berger's words still apply today. Professor Jia Qingguo pointed out that we have every reason to improve China-US relations. One of the approaches to improving China-US relations is to encourage people-to-people exchange between the two peoples. Only through continuous and in-depth people-to-people exchange can we gain an objective understanding of the other party's concerns and expectations, which can then serve as the basis for our policy-making. Only in this way can China and the US realize peaceful coexistence and joint prosperity. Finally, Professor Jia Qingguo said that the iGCU of Peking University is honored to host and attend the awards ceremony of the fellowship. He expressed his sincere gratitude to the guests from China and the US, and said that with the joint efforts of both countries, China-US relations will get back on track.

Professor Jia Qingguo, Director of the iGCU of Peking University, delivers the closing speech

Wang Dong, Executive Director of the iGCU of Peking University, presides over the opening ceremony

Qi Haotian, Secretary-General of the iGCU of Peking University, presides over the closing ceremony

After that, the guests took a group photo online, marking the successful conclusion of the first awards ceremony of the Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger Memorial Fellowship. This is an important event in the field of people-to-people exchange, cultural exchange and academic exchange between China and the US. The Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger Memorial Fellowship encourages young scholars to make unremitting efforts in promoting friendly exchanges between the two countries, strengthen their academic exploration and look at China-US relations with a more inclusive, open, objective and rational view. Young scholars are expected to learn from each other on the basis of mutual respect, and in this way promote the development of coordinated, cooperative and stable China-US relations.